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Apparel Company Introduces Political Fashion Downtown



International clothing company Akomplice is relocating its global headquarters on June 2 to the State Street Fuzion Clothing and Glass Boutique in downtown Santa Barbara.

The high-end apparel corporation — owned and operated by brothers Patrick and Michael Liberty — specializes in garments and accessories with social and political messages about environmentalism, capitalism and the culture of violence. The organization operates over 150 stores in 18 countries.

According to Patrick, the business uses its products to expand the company’s global humanitarian efforts.

“We try to look at Akomplice like more of a social movement than a clothing brand,” Patrick said. “We want to make something with a message and meaning.”

The group’s clothing features slogans and icons including a “Fuck BP” design criticizing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the image “Liberty with a Gun” of the Statue of Liberty holding a firearm.

Michael, head of Akomplice’s creative aspects, said the artwork is inspired by personal events including motivational dreams.

“I had a dream of a marionette puppet attached to strings that were controlled by hands,” Michael said. “In my dream, the hands represented fear and the puppet was trying to cut itself free. Once I woke up, I thought that I had to do this.”

The brothers started Akomplice in Colorado in 2004 at the ages of 18 and 20 after sending out a collection of designs to various stores throughout the country. The company currently sells accessories and men’s apparel ranging from $5 to $200.

Michael said the organization focuses on maintaining high standards for their wares.

“Our goal is to keep growing and become stronger in areas based off quality products,” Michael said.

After selling Akomplice merchandise for roughly five years, Santa Barbara’s Fuzion formed a partnership with the company earlier this year to establish the boutique as Akomplice’s headquarters.

Although the company has not released details about the opening, fourth-year sociology major and Akomplice employee Jennifer Chinn said the store is excited to offer its merchandise to fellow socially minded citizens.

“Students here are very active in the community and want clothes that reflect how they feel,” Chinn said. “The opening will have art, style, intelligence, good music, good people and UCSB students doing what they do best.”

 

 

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